Your Rights: Paid Safe And Sick Leave
paidunpaidIndustry and Worker-Specific Protections: Domestic Workers
Under federal law, you may also have the right to take additional unpaid time off from workAs of January 2018, most workers in New York are eligible to take paid family leave to bond with a new child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or address certain military family needsU.S. Department of LaborU.S. Department of Labor Division Office in NYCNew York State Paid Family Leave
Things State And Local Governments Can Do To Build Worker Power
To ensure that workers are afforded the dignity they deserve, state and local officials must act now to strengthen worker power in the workplace and beyond.
American workers do not have the rights and protections they need and deserve in the workplace or in the U.S. democratic system. Despite public support for policies that promote good jobs, the COVID-19 pandemic has repeatedly underscored how decent pay, health insurance, paid family and medical leave, and safety on the job are still far from guaranteedeven for workers deemed essential to their communities and the nations economy. Moreover, pandemic-induced economic trends have only served to deepen existing inequalities, including long-standing racial disparities.1 Confronting these challenges will take more than simply raising minimum standards. Policymakers must also work to reestablish worker power in the economy, including by strengthening unions.
Federal reforms are necessary to fix many of the structural issues currently facing workers, but state and local lawmakers can play a significant role too. By supporting workers rights, strengthening protections for workers in nontraditional employment structures, giving workers a voice in setting job standards, and involving worker organizations in efforts to improve training, benefits provision, and standards enforcement, state and local policymakers can strengthen workers power and map a way forward for future federal policy reforms.
Employment Rights: Who Has Them And Who Enforces Them
Individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in employment primarily by two federal laws.
The Americans with Disabilities Act , enacted into law on July 26, 1990, prohibits private sector employers who employ 15 or more individuals and all State and local government employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 , as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment in three areas.
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits federal executive branch agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Rate Commission, from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. It requires executive branch agencies to take affirmative action in the hiring, placing and advancing of individuals with disabilities.
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act requires contractors who have a contract with the federal government for $10,000 or more, and their subcontractors who have subcontracts satisfying the same criteria, to take affirmative action to employ and to advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment and in their programs and activities.
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Strengthen Public Sector Unions
Government agencieswhich are more constrained in their ability to offer competitive compensation packagesoften find it difficult to recruit and retain staff, but strong public sector unions can help employees bargain for family-supporting wages and benefits and grant them a voice on the job6 while also increasing the quality of public services.7 During recessions, for example, unions can help ensure that government budget decisions are equitable. In 2019, more than one-third of public sector workers belonged to a union.8
However, laws governing public sector unions vary significantly across states. Several states prohibit all government employees from organizing or only allow certain groups of public sector workerssuch as police and firefightersto unionize, while excluding teachers and other public employees.9 Moreover, federal and state-level attacks on public sector collective bargaining rights have weakened the ability of public sector unions to advocate for government employees and their families.10 Now, with state and local governments facing major budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession,11 public sector bargaining could again come under threat.12 Strong public sector unions will play an important role in fending off layoffs and safeguarding public pension funds.13
Start From Zero For A New Job Or Role
Your 12 weeks will start again if you:
- get a new job at a different workplace
- have a break of more than 6 weeks between jobs at the same workplace
- stay at your workplace but take a new role thats substantively different
A substantively different role is one thats completely new, different work. It could be a combination of different:
- skills, or requiring new training
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Create Workers Boards To Establish Industrywide Standards
Policymakers should establish workers boards, also known as wage boards.38 These tripartite bodies bring together representatives of workers, businesses, government, and the public to recommend wage standards, training, paid time off, and other workplace standards for occupations and industries. Because workers boards can set pay levels above state or local minimum wage floors and provide pay differentials for workers with additional skills or experience, they are better positioned to increase compensation for middle-income earners than a single minimum-pay standard.39 More generally, research indicates that broad-based standard setting, of which workers boards are an example, is a useful strategy to close racial and gender pay gaps, reduce economic inequality, and encourage companies to compete based on greater productivity rather than lower pay.40
Workers boards can ensure that workers in industries with low union density or those in which outsourcing makes it difficult for workers to engage in worksite-level bargaining are still covered by high standards and have a voice in setting the standards that govern their industry.41 A handful of states and localities already have laws that allow for workers boards.42 New York City, for example, used a wage board to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 per hour in 2015,43 and Seattle has a standards board for domestic workers.44
Us Department Of Labor
Agency Information/Mission: To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States improve working conditions advance opportunities for profitable employment and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Agencies Within the Department of Labor:
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Punished For Supporting A Union
Most working people have the legal right to join or support a union and to engage in collective bargaining. The National Labor Relations Board now requires most employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the NLRA, workers have the right to:
- Attend meetings to discuss joining a union.
- Read, distribute and discuss union literature .
- Wear union buttons, T-shirts, stickers, hats or other items on the job at most worksites.
- Sign a card asking your employer to recognize and bargain with the union.
- Sign petitions or file grievances related to wages, hours, working conditions and other job issues.
- Ask other employees to support the union, to sign union cards or petitions, or to file grievances.
Heres what an employer legally cannot do under the NLRA:
- Threaten employees with loss of jobs or benefits if they join or vote for a union or engage in protected concerted activity.
- Threaten to close the plant if employees select a union to represent them.
- Question employees about their union sympathies or activities in circumstances that tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights under the act.
- Promise benefits to employees to discourage their union support.
- Transfer, lay off, terminate or assign employees more difficult work tasks because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.
Check It Out
- The type of discrimination you encountered.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
The Department of Labors Occupational Safety & Health Administration administers the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which assures that employers provide employees with safe and healthy working conditions. OSHA provides compliance assistance, outreach and educational programs to businesses to further workplace safety. OSHA offers to small and medium-sized businesses across the country free on-site consultations where consultants work with employers to identify workplace safety hazards and create injury prevention programs. In addition to being free, such consultations do not result in citations or penalties. OSHA also hosts training centers and offers a $afety Pays Program, which assists employers in estimating the amount of money employers would have to generate to cover costs of occupational injuries or illnesses.
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Allow Workers Not Covered Under The Nlra To Unionize And Collectively Bargain
The United States hallmark federal labor legislationthe National Labor Relations Act excludes millions of workers, including farm workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors, from its coverage. This means that, under federal law, these workers do not have the basic legal right to join together and bargain collectively. State policymakers can take steps to provide workers excluded from NLRA coverage with the right to join a union. California, for example, has long allowed agricultural workers to bargain collectively,23 and in 2019, farm workers in New York state won similar rights. 24 Some states, including Oregon and Washington, have taken steps to ensure that home care workerswho can face legal and institutional barriers to joining unionshave the right to unionize and collectively bargain for wages and benefits.25
Protect Workers Who Speak Up About Violations
Workers who come forward to report violations of labor and employment laws often face retaliation from their employers. This issue is especially pervasive among women, immigrants, and low-wage earners.60 Anti-retaliation protections help ensure that employers cannot threaten, demote, fire, or otherwise retaliate against workers who speak out about violations in their workplace. Yet a majority of states fail to provide these necessary legal protections.61 Furthermore, in most states, employers have the discretion to discharge workers for any reason, excluding those that are explicitly proscribed by law.62 This creates a power imbalance between employees and employers.
State and local policymakers can protect workers by passing strong whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws that include four key elements: government-imposed fines, monetary damages, recovery of attorneys fees, and a private right of action.63 In addition, policymakers can pass just cause lawswhich require employers to demonstrate a good reason for disciplining or terminating an employeeto place workers on a more even playing field with their employers. Just cause is starting to gain traction among state and local lawmakers: For example, the New York City Council recently considered such protections for the citys essential workers during the pandemic.64
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Retaliation For Filing A Complaint
An employer may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise “retaliate” against individuals for filing a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding. Retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency or labor organization takes as adverse action, such as denying a promotion or increased surveillance, against an individual who opposed unlawful practices, participated in a proceeding related to employment discrimination, or requested reasonable accommodation based on religion or disability.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from retaliating against employees. Employers with 20 or more employees are prohibited from retaliating under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Virtually all employers are covered under the Equal Pay Act.
You can file a charge by calling the EEOC office at 1-800-669-4000 for more information . All charges must include:
- Your name, address and telephone number.
- Your job title.
- The type of discrimination you encountered.
Take Actions To Enforce Workplace Standards
In addition to workplace safety hazards, evidence suggests that violations of employment standardsincluding minimum wage, overtime, and sick leave standardsare a widespread problem.54 Robust enforcement of workplace standards is particularly important during an economic recession such as the one the United States is currently experiencing, as workers already fearful of losing their jobs may be particularly hesitant to come forward to report violations.
To encourage employer compliance with the law, policymakers should increase funding for state and local labor agencies that investigate and enforce labor laws. Cities and states can also bolster activities to enforce standards by including community and worker organizations in enforcement efforts. Under a co-enforcement model, government agencies partner with unions and worker organizations to expand their on-the-ground capacity and improve compliance.55 These co-enforcers act as intermediaries between workers and government to educate workers on their rights and provide guidance to workers seeking to redress issues in their workplaces. In addition, co-enforcers can directly alert government agencies to violations, making it easier for agency inspectors to collect back wages and bring bad actors into compliance. Co-enforcement also gives workers an opportunity to interact with worker representatives, ensuring greater exposure for unions and the benefits they provide.
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Ner With Unions To Ensure That Workers Understand And Can Access Workplace Benefits
State and local governments can also involve worker organizations in benefits provision to ensure that government programs reach the people who need them. Currently, many benefits programs such as unemployment insurance and workers compensation can be hard to navigate alone, which leads to underutilization.72 For example, less than half of unemployed workers in 2019 applied for unemployment insurance benefits and even fewer received them.73 To boost uptake rates for this and similar programs, governments could fund unions and workers organizations to raise awareness of benefit programs, help workers complete application forms, and protect workers from retaliation. These navigators could connect workers with unemployment insurance and workers compensation benefits as well as train workers on health insurance and retirement benefit programs. Oregons state government, for example, collaborates with SEIU Local 503 to train public sector workers on health insurance and retirement plans.74 Partnering with trusted worker organizations can help ensure that workers both understand and utilize the workplace benefits provided to them.
Workforce Innovation And Opportunity Act
Enacted on July 22, 2014, this law supersedes the Workforce Investment Act . The WIOA amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. WIOA authorizes the Job Corps, YouthBuild, Indian and Native Americans, and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs, in addition to the core programs.
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Your Rights: Pay For Work Done As An Independent Contractor
- All contracts worth $800 or more must be in writing. This includes all agreements between you and the hiring party that total $800 in any 120-day period. The written contract must spell out the work you will perform the pay for the work and the date you get paid. You and the hiring party must keep a copy of the written contract.
- Timely PaymentThe hiring party must pay you for all completed work. You must receive payment on or before the date that is in the contract. If the contract does not include a payment date, the hiring party must pay you within 30 days after you complete the work.
- Right to SueYou can sue the hiring party in court to seek damages. If you are not timely paid for your work, you have a right to collect double the amount you werent paid, damages for retaliation, and payment of attorneys fees and costs.
- Visit nyc.gov/dca
Us Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Toll-Free : 669-4000 Phone : 663-4900 TTY: 663-4494/ Toll-Free: 669-6820 Fax: 997-4890 E-Mail:Website:www.eeoc.govNational Contact Center Website:
Agency Information/Mission: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex , national origin, age , disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws . Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.
The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
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Which Branch Of The Government Oversees Labor Laws
Labor laws set forth the obligations and rights of employers with regard to work-related benefits, such as wages and overtime, workplace safety and the welfare of employees. The Department of Labor is the primary federal agency responsible for overseeing the labor laws in the United States. Created by President William H. Taft in 1913, the Department of Labor currently oversees over 180 federal laws. However, other smaller agencies can play a role in overseeing labor laws.
Other Federal Agencies Overseeing Labor Laws
The Department of Labor is not the only federal agency that addresses labor laws. The National Labor Relations Board addresses labor law as it pertains to the right of private-sector employees to organize bargaining units in their workplaces through the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB investigates charges of unfair labor practices, conducts union elections and adjudicates allegations of unfair labor practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also addresses labor laws, but only insofar as labor-related issues intersect with anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on protected classes such as race, sex, disability and age.
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How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Your application will be evaluated based on your resume, attached supporting documentation, and your responses to the self-assessment questionnaire. Your materials will be evaluated to validate your possession of any required knowledge, skills, abilities, and/or competencies. The following competencies will be evaluated in the self-assessment questionnaire:
- Administration and Management
- Customer Service
- Information Management